They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. The only problem is that I have admitted this to myself and others before and I still continue to further my addiction. “Barbara” at Barnes and Noble is my dealer and I am willing to pay top dollar for that good shit. I can actually say that I purchased 7 books in 2016 and two so far this year and have I read any of them? No. Books I did read in 2016: The Magicians Trilogy (having read all of them twice in 2015) and Harry Potter, years 1-4. I really only made it halfway through Goblet of Fire because wedding planning became more intense. Have I read anything since 2017 started? I attempted to start reading a book about the life of Elizabeth I of England but because of how life is AND because it was not my usual subject matter, I put it down telling myself I would come back to it later. That was 2 months ago. Yet I have been to Barnes and Noble several times after that. I have a habit of picking up a book or books and carrying them around with me, deciding if I need all of them at once or maybe I should come back later? Three, four, maybe even 6 books will come home with me a few months later and proudly take their places on the bookshelf, never to be opened until sometimes years later.
I don’t know why I do this to myself. I know good and well that I may not read these books, that they could end up as a coffee table book and nothing more, or possibly even purchased and then loaned out without even a bit of sadness if they aren’t returned. Granted, I am still pissed off that I loaned out my copy of The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury to someone whom I thought was a good friend, and now I probably will never see that book again. ALSO…never lend a book to a “fling” or friend of said fling. They will never return it (RIP: Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I know that I could go and purchase these books again and be done with it, but all of those copies had sentimental value already stored up inside them and I would just have to start all over–nothing wrong with that but it’s the principle of the thing.
I don’t feel like this is a life-threatening addiction, however. You can’t overdose from too many books–unless you know, you cover yourself with them and let them crush you by their weight alone. There are far worse things to be addicted to. Yes, my bank account and bookshelf may suffer, but I can stop whenever I want to. It’s a minor compulsion, but I’ve loved to read ever since I learned how and I just can’t stop myself. The one thing about my problem is that I HATE being told what to read. When moving to my new home, I was informed there was a summer reading list and it was mandatory to read two of the books from the list. This did not sit well with me. Why should I be forced to read something because others didn’t read that often? I have only been told to read something as a class one time and actually enjoyed it: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. That was when I was in the 4th grade. I still have the paperback copy from that fateful year (1998 if you must know) and no one is allowed to touch or borrow that copy. I have the hardback that I am also hesitant to loan out as well. For Christmas this past year I actually bought James his own paperback of Sorcerer’s Stone just he would stop eyeing mine.
I aslo am not a fan of being recommended books to read, I prefer to find them on my own. I know this makes me seem a tad like a Hipster, but if they book or series is popular, then I’m probably not going to be interested in it until later. A Song of Ice and Fire is the best example of this. I used to work at a movie theatre and a coworker of mine insisted that I would love the series and the HBO show. Either the description she gave me wasn’t that enthralling or I was just being a dick, I chose not read the series until the show was in its second season. Once I did pick up the first copy, however, I burned through all of the 5 available books and became engrossed in the show. I do feel a twinge of regret for being so averse to the series once I finally start reading it, but honestly, I’d rather pick it up on my own terms rather than someone banging it into my head.
Books are just a source of comfort and excitement for me. It’s a chance to escape to a different world and to fall in love with the characters, even if they end up breaking your heart. I collect these books not because I’m a bibliophile hoarder but rather because I feel like they need a home. They deserve a rightful place on my bookshelves, to be admired and carefully thumbed through instead of being picked up and later misplaced or jettisoned to a completely different section by some shilly-shallying reader.
My collection also has another deeper significance to me; one that is admittedly heartbreaking but true. I grew up in a small town where I truly did not fit in: I was far too smart, didn’t conform to the rest of the city’s ideals on what a blonde and blue-eyed girl should be, my music choices were different than most, and most of all, I was just plain old weird. I had friends, or at least a group of friends that I hung out with because of shared weirdness, but none that I could really consider close. I also have a sister who is 5 years older than me and we are as different as night and day. She had her own friends and was very popular. Books became an integral part of who I was and still am: books don’t leave you or invite you to parties then never show up. Books don’t make fun of you for being smart nor make you sit in the hall because you question what you’re being taught. Books also helped me through some rough relationships with unsavory guys.
I couldn’t really say what my top 5 favourite books are, Harry Potter definitely taking up the number one spot, of course. The other four would be a challenge for me. I can, however, name the 4 that I loved reading again and don’t mind visiting their worlds every now and then:
- The Magicians Trilogy
- The Shambling Guide series
- Gone with the Wind
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
What are some of your favourite books or series? I’m also curious as to what people are reading and I am trying to be more open-minded about being recommended books.